SitRep 10/2024

February 29, 2024

2024 Award Update 

While we wait for bargaining parameters from the Government, the FBEU continues to meet in good faith with FRNSW in an attempt to progress negotiations as far and as fast as we can. Discussions are occurring on a without prejudice basis on our proposals, particularly regarding work value initiatives and productivity.

Following Monday’s campaign activities, we now have representatives from Government in the room with us during negotiations from both the Premier’s Department and Treasury, and obviously it was impressed on them very strongly that FBEU members were done with waiting.

This afternoon, our Award applications were also heard before the IRC in the first directions hearing, where the Commissioner also made clear her expectations that Government and FRNSW must do what is necessary to finalise approved bargaining parameters for our Award. This is particularly so given it has now expired and therefore she will not be comfortable with any significant delay. The parties have agreed before the IRC to adjourn for 3 weeks to continue our discussions.

Meanwhile, we must continue to campaign and put pressure on this government to step up and make a fair and reasonable offer. More action and activities are coming, stay tuned to Sitrep, your SCOM rep and delegates for updates.

Budget Estimates 

This week and last, Ministers and Department heads faced their first budget estimates sessions of the year, with Minister Dib and Commissioner Fewtrell in the hot seat on Wednesday. But most of the action was worn by Minister Cotsis during today’s Industrial relations, Work Health and Safety committee, where the state-wide sentiment of FBEU members barley left the agenda.

Members from across the crossbench spoke to the union’s demands, including increasing presumptive cancer legislation. The FBEU note with thanks, the advocacy from the Hon. Robert Borsak of the Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party, and the Hon. Jeremy Buckingham of the Legalise Cannabis Party.

The FBEU also found a strange bedfellow in Liberal party member, the Hon. Damien Tudehope MLC, whose line of questioning concerning the circumstances leading to the FBEU’s current industrial campaign, mounted significant pressure on the Government.

Having had real wage growth stymied under the previous State Liberal Government for more than a decade, FBEU members will recognise that Mr Tudehope and the Liberal party are no friends of the FBEU, or any public sector union.

With that said, Tudehope’s curious advocacy raised some important concerns which are highly relevant to our current industrial plight. At the core of these concerns was a fundamental question for the Minister as to how the Governments new public-sector IR system represents a better and fairer, process for public-sector workers to achieve reasonable wage growth. A question which the Minister clearly found difficult to answer.

A transcript and footage of the discussion will be made to members once published on Parliament’s website.

A similar line of question is expected to continue tomorrow when Treasurer Daniel Mookhey appears before the estimates committee.

In Unity,

Leighton Drury
State Secretary

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